The Year of SportVU
by Lance Cundy on February 9, 2014
For the 2013-2014 NBA season, it was required that every team install STATS’ SportVU technology in their arenas. This technology comes in the form of six cameras that note the coordinates of the ball, ten players, and three refs every 1/25 of a second during a game. This has created an enormously huge dataset for basketball analysts and statisticians to explore. Previously unquantifiable impact, such as defense, is now being measured as a statistic. Research on SportVU data was presented at the MIT Sloan Sports Analytics Conference last year, and more will be presented this year. To put it simply, basketball nerds love SportVU.
Since we love visualizing sports data at Statographics, it only made sense for us to look at the newest dataset in sports! NBA.com has a section of their statistics website devoted solely to this player tracking data, in which any fan can explore. For each player tracking category, we visualized the description of the category, which tends to have many rules, and then we visualized the leaders among the most telling statistics. The result? Four infographics!
* Note: Click on each graphic below to see the entire statographic!
1. Speed/Distance and Touches/Possessions
Who is the fastest player in the NBA? Patty Mills
Who travels the furthest per game? Chandler Parsons, Klay Thompson and Stephen Curry.
Who touches and holds the ball the most? John Wall
Who scores the most per touch? Kevin Durant
Interpretation: John Wall carries a large load, and Kevin Durant is super efficient.
2. Drives and Passing
Who drives the most? Ty Lawson
Who scores the most on drives? Monta Ellis
Who passes the most? Kemba Walker
Who leads the league in secondary assists, assist opportunities, and points created by assists? Chris Paul
Interpretation: When Chris Paul is healthy, he is very good at getting his team good shots.
3. Defensive Impact and Rebounding Opportunities
Who doesn’t let his opponent get to the rim and score? Jason Terry
Who controls the most rebounds per chance? Kevin Durant
Who receives the most chances for a rebound? Kevin Love
Interpretation: Three of the best players in the league end up with the ball when it comes near them.
4. Catch and Shoot and Pull Ups
Who attempts and scores the most catch and shoot points? Klay Thompson
Who attempts and scores the most pull up points? Steph Curry
Who has the best effective field goal percentage on catch and shoots? Aaron Brooks
Who has the best effective field goal percentage on pull up jumpers? Courtney Lee
Interpretation: It isn’t easy to defend the Splash Brothers: Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson.
What fun statistics and surprising results have you found in the SportVU data? Tweet us @statographics!